I got called a fluff bunny by someone who considers themself an ‘elder otherkin’ yesturday.
Me. A fluffbunny.
I am amused.
Apparently they read the first two lines and then said, too long, didn’t read, and called me a fluff bunny.
Amusing, that. And a sad state of affairs really.
Wow, wtf. Is this re: the thing you wrote about on LJ?
No, different situation, this one on the Facebook otherkin group.
…there’s an otherkin group on Facebook actually worth being a member of? I’ve found fifteen and almost all of them made me run screaming (setting aside the fact that I would not really want to join any of them for privacy reasons anyway).
Lately I have been hearing a lot about appropriation. Especially related to Otherkin and claims of trans species and species dysphoria. Now, I have talked to some people about this, and it seems that it started out with this intent. People trying to appropriate trans and dysphoria for their own negative purposes.
Still, I find myself confused and at an impasse. I am, at my heart, an author, and am therefore a big fan of words meaning things. As such I am unsure of what to do here. While the original intent of the terms trans species and species dysphoria were possibly meant as being appropriative, does that mean that we must discard the words with their meaning and seek other terms?
…I don’t think that’s how appropriation works. It’s not something you commit by intent, having “negative purposes” (desire to harm whoever is being appropriated from); it’s largely by ignorance. The person doesn’t recognize there could be a problem. They see something useful or cool and they pick it up, divorced from its context, generally because they are in a position of privilege that means they don’t have to consider that context. At the end of the day they could drop the word or the artifact and it could become meaningless to them, whereas for the group appropriated from, that’s not possible, because it’s woven into their life from their experiences or culture.
In this case, I don’t think there’s a power imbalance between trans folks and otherkin(/therians/whatever) just on the basis of those two things taken alone. Trans folks certainly face a far different (and worse) set of societal problems because they are trans than otherkin do because they are otherkin, but it’s not because otherkin are supported in the system as being “above” trans people - it’s because cis people are in that position. So if otherkin/therians/whatever should not use “trans-species”, I think it’s not because “otherkin appropriated it from trans people” (otherkin obviously are not monolithic WRT cis/trans), but because cisgender people maybe shouldn’t talk about being trans-anything. (NB, not saying whether I agree or disagree, just laying out something I think would be logical there.)
On the other hand:
Trans is, after all, a prefix meaning to cross. So a transgender person, like myself, is crossing from one sexual identity to another. Likewise, a trans humanist is someone crossing over to something beyond what humanity is, so, even though the term was originally intended as appropriative, trans species would mean to cross from one species to another. The same can be said of dysphoria. It is a clinical term with valid meaning indicating a deep emotional and psychological discomfort with something, or some aspect.
…there is also this argument that nobody can own a root-word that also combines happily with other things. (Actually, now I’m curious: has there been opposition to “transhumanist” from transgender people? The word in its modern sense apparently originated in the 1960s.) Conceptually there are clearly some parallels, even if they cannot be “compared” in the sense of saying they are very similar to one another. (“Compare” also has more than one sense, and depending on which dictionary you consult, the meaning “to examine in order to note similarities and differences” may be primary over “to consider or describe as similar; to liken”. I think we sometimes get into trouble in conversations like this when people hear sense 2 where someone intended sense 1.)
It seems that we have a choice. As society continues to evolve and as we grow as a community and sub culture Otherkin is getting more and more attention from psychologists, psychiatrists and the larger community of people that we are all a part of. As this becomes more of a reality we have some hard choice to make. These terms, no matter what their origination in use, follows standard nomenclature for what could be eventually a DSM V diagnosis for Species Dysphoria.
Most of the uses of “trans-species” and its ilk that I see nowadays come from outside, yes, scholarly papers and such. They could get established whether we will or we nill.
i'm ignorant about this, but what is the difference between therian and otherkin? is there a difference? i never heard of either before today and i went onto the otherkin tag and half of it is just really nasty and mocking and so i'm having trouble getting a clear picture of if there's a difference/what it is.
I’ve never heard of therian before, but i just used the internet and found out that therians are a kind of otherkin. :3
otherkin believe that their soul is wholly or partly something other than human. maybe several somethings other than human. there are lots of different reasons that they might think this is possible.
therian are the same as above, but specifically they believe they have the heart of a certain animal.
Thanks for helping anonymous. :)
To add some information, therians and otherkin once were mostly distinct communities - the otherkin can be traced back to elves (Silver Elves?) in the 70’s and then included mostly mythical creatures, while therians originate from Alt.Horror.Werewolves in the early 90’s and focused on extant and extinct animals. Nowadays though there is a significant overlap between the two communities.
The Silver Elves were one of the earliest groups to be public about being elven, yes. Their predecessors were the Elf Queen’s Daughters, whose writings in Green Egg are the oldest print evidence we currently have of people calling themselves “elves” (at least in the way the modern community means it). While I think it’s likely other types existed, even if very scattered, at the time, it’s the Silver Elves’ Magical Elven Love Letters that really loom the largest until Elfinkind Digest spawned the term “otherkin” in 1990, to refer to the non-elven types that had showed up even though Dara originally thought she was only going to find other elves. The fact that they showed up early on in the life of the digest suggests they pre-existed, even if they did not already have have coherent communication between themselves at the time. (Beats me if there was a draconic analogue to the Silver Elves and their Letters in the 1970s-1990s, for instance.)
Heh. I am not much one for the ” ‘aliens’ is just a modern way of interpreting what people used to call ‘fairies’ ” thing, but this does kind of remind me of a trope often underlying otherkin folks’ worldview or personal mythic histories, this idea that the “magical world” with other beings is purposely hiding itself from humanity, or at least drifted apart and used to be more closely entwined with this ordinary world. Compare Lupa’s recent post on A Sense of Natural Wonder: My Little Planet: Nature is Magic.
All this talk about otherkin and therian communities histories and overlap between them makes me want to write some long rambly thing about my initial introduction to the concept of otherkin and then coming across the terms of otherkin and therianthropy, some of my time spent in otherkin spaces and spaces more specifically for therians (but not exclusive of non-therian otherkin), and views I’ve had and kept or changed over time relating to matters of “therians as a kind of otherkin”. Not really to ‘prove’ something conclusively this way or that, but just to get that stuff out there, outside my mind and some people could read it out of intrigue or whatever. Though I don’t know if I’ll stay motivated long enough to actually get such written, nor where exactly all I’d post it if I did write/finish it.
That and I might at some point write a little blurb of sorts to post somewhere on those “allokin” and “alloanthropy” terms I coined either last year or the year before, especially since I’d like to get myself more accustomed to using them and thus using them more in some of my writings.
I’m curious about your allokin/alloanthropy terms! I’d certainly read your writing if you decided to develop the subject. And in particular, I wanted to ask about the issue of having either term fall more on “one side” or “the other” (allokin -> otherkin, and alloanthropy -> therianthropy). I was wondering if that would defeat the purpose of an umbrella term, if they look attached more to one community or another? Wouldn’t it be the point to have a word that does not re-use the existing category and dichotomy “therian VS otherkin” to suit the purpose of an all-encompassing community?
Personally, I have a preference for using allokin and it’s likely to be the main or only one I’ll use when I do get myself to use the alternate (to otherkin) term more often. But regardless, they are meant to denote exactly the same thing (unlike the terms of otherkin and therianthropy) so if ever a significant amount of people took to using these alternative terms, either or both, it would be ultimately, to say it bluntly: stupid to use the ‘kin one as different and separate from the ‘anthrope one (now that would be some major arbitrary line-drawing).
People are free to use whichever, or both, of them, and they are free to not use either of them. I just ask that if people do decide to use either/both of them, to keep to their essential meaning and to treat the ‘kin and ‘anthrope versions of the word as synonymous. But yes, you brought up a good point that I should make sure I address in that blurb/writing, whenever I make it.
Thank you for your reply! Maybe I wasn’t very clear about my question actually. I think what I meant was something along the line of “do you think the term “allokin” could be interpreted as coming from the otherkin community (because “-kin”) and so not feel representative of a larger, therian+otherkin+? community, and that it could be problematic to its “mission” as an umbrella term”?
And the reverse can be applied to “alloanthropy” but my point isn’t about the fact the two words may be used not as synonyms, but more about the fact that even if we were only using one word, it may still sound more rooted into a community than another because of its sonorities.
I wish there was a non-ambiguous umbrella word that didn’t seem attached to one community more than the other (“non-human” could work, but I don’t find it accurate for a number of us; some people don’t feel they are human, but others feel they are at least part human, etc.).
I agree that -anthropy and -kin would seem more rooted in one or the other, just because of their sound.
I’m not sure the sense of the allo- element is quite right for this purpose. Compare allophones, variations on a phoneme (like aspirated and unaspirated), allotropes, differing forms of something like carbon -> graphite or diamond, or allonym, the name of another person that is not one’s own (similar to pseudonym, but not fictitious). It doesn’t mean the thing being spoken about is other than whatever the second particle is - “an allophone is something that is not a phoneme at all” - so alloanthrope parses to me more as “a kind of man that is different from some other kind of man”, rather than conveying the meaning of being somehow not (hu)man in the first place. Allokin is difficult to understand, in that light. (“A kind of kin that is different from some other kind of kin”? If so maybe you could say that otherkin and therianthropes are “allokin” of each other… heh.)
But I digress and maybe am being too picky. (Who, me?) I do wish we had something that would fill the same void as “nonhuman” but could be agreed upon. Le sigh.
This is the original picture (found with tin eye):
desc says “It was your typical fur con. Everyone in the Therian panel was having a great time talking about their inner animals…when all of a sudden one person started to change, then the next person…and so on…”
BUT WHY :B
I guess we’ll never know.
In the otherkin community there is the trope of “the Veil falls and magic comes back and everyone regains their true forms.” (Something that tends to get eyerolls these days whenever someone posts “Do you feel a change/a war/something coming? I do…”) It might have had more currency among the older were community vs. modern therians?
I know at least 4 other people off tumblr or who aren’t active here anymore that are otherkin and POC (or of mixed white/POC heritage)
And that’s not counting the various otherkin I’ve met over the years who were from nonEnglish speaking countries.
Although that could still be white, e.g. French, German, Scandinavian countries… (not that everyone in those places is white; just saying). But that does remind me that I’ve talked to a couple of otherkin from Singapore and I think one from the Philippines. Someone else in the thread mentioned Brazil, which I hear has a fair-sized otherkin community, but as gaydragonboyfriend mentioned, there’s a lot of language barrier going on here.
Just my own two cents, but its been really interesting reading these posts, I never really stopped to think about how the communities should retain their autonomy because they share different histories and cater to largely different crowds. I just get a little tired seeing folks always wanting to draw big, dark lines between each other because in some way, they’re different. But now I see how its essentially beneficial to have (at least) two separate crowds, and it would be nice to have a separate catch-all term for “those who identify in some way as non-human”.
Yeah, the line doesn’t need to be “big [and] dark”. It’s kind of grey and squiggly and fuzzy and permeable. But if you think of us all being within some great big overarching category we have no good name for as yet (“non-humans”/”other-than-humans”), it’s like there are certain seed-spots in that field that attract certain types of folk and they cluster or crystallize around them, like this kind of magnetic force pattern:
So if you had several of those, there would not be hard lines where one ended and another began; there are some strong examples near center points, and then areas where they fade into each other. If “otherkin” is going to win out as the term for the whole group (which it may well do), then I suppose the cluster around elves/fae/spirituals/mythics needs a good term for itself like therians have for what they are, but that’s something else no one seems to have managed to come up with a strong candidate for yet, either.
someone lol’d at folks like rialianashtae and jarandhel with words like “irrelevant” and rather absurd imagery of them being nearly dead and grasping from the grave
===I believe most of the folks that were talking like that were the fake otherkin trolling blogs and the hate blogs..(grins)
I dunno. I blocked them and I doubt I would be able to find the exact quote at this point anyway, but I got the sense they were genuine, at least in the sense of not just trolling. I think you and Jarin were back-and-forthing at the time and it was sort of like, “jeez, lookit these two fossils, flailing around like this when none of us modern otherkin gives a shit what they say, amirite guys?” except more spiteful.
(I cut the post down to address this part only…) I don’t know how much help this is… and my memory of when I first learned about otherkin (maybe 5 years back?) is a bit… fuzzy, but, if my memory serves… otherkin was presented as “kin to something other than human” - I wasn’t seeing an emphasis on this “mythic” thing you keep talking about. (Can you define mythic for me, please?) Just an emphasis on being something other-than/along-side human - which leaves plenty of room for animals - and I truly thought that animals were included with otherkin. The few times I saw therian mentioned it was always in connection with wolves and it actually made me think it was a community just for wolf-kin.
(will address this myself later but reblogging so others can see and add input.)
Mythological as in not proven to be real, but not from modern fiction either. Non-human creatures from mythology, such as elves, giants, angels, demons, unicorns, phoenix and so on. That’s what is meant with mythological.
Not wrong, but not the whole enchilada either. Like Rialian keeps going on about, it’s a “feel”. (I like his description of it as a texture.) Some can therians have it too, although that doesn’t make them otherkin; it’s just that it’s often Kind Of A Thing with otherkin.
The otherkin community started with elves, and then later introduces the word “otherkin” as a catch-all for non-human people, but I think that during this time, that community didn’t have real life animals involved? But not everyone were elves, so the “kin to other”/”otherkind”/otherkin was invented.
The web page Orion cites in the Otherkin Timeline for the “kin to the other” meaning has a 2005 date on it, so that came along quite a bit later. Relevant passages from the Otherkin Timeline about the coining of “otherkind/otherkin” in 1990:
Dara Korra’ti, quoted: “The Elfinkind Digest is a mailing list for, about and by elves and interested others. … Initially, I expected only to find other elves; as it turned out, I found a large number of people with a large number of self-identifications. The scope of the digest has officially been enlarged to encompass these other ‘others,’ though the name of the digest itself has remained unchanged. … First use of the word ‘otherkind’ is in Elfinkind Digest #16, dated 18 April 1990, coined in quotes as a term to include non-elf ‘others’ cropping up on the list, and was a specific branching off from the word ‘elfinkind.’ There was later some talk of renaming the digest to ‘The Otherkind Digest’ but that didn’t happen.”
Orion Scribner, as the voice of the Timeline: On a listserve, the earliest use of the word “otherkin,” (as a variant of “otherkind”) referring to real people who identify as other than human. It’s in Elfinkind Digest, #71 [Jul 9 or 10, 1990]. … During these years, it seems that the words “otherkin” and “otherkind” are being used interchangeably, and “otherkin” is the less common of the two. … Korra’ti graciously put me in touch with the person who coined (or, at least, who was the first person on record using) the words “otherkind” as well as “otherkin,” [Torin] who … told me how the word came to happen: “From what I can remember, I got tired of typing elf/dragon/orc/etc.-kin and just used otherkin. It was convenience and practicality. […] There wasn’t actual intent to form a new word; just shorthand.”
I was not a member of the list at the time, only since about 2008 or 2009, I think. I don’t recall animal-kin popping up in that span of time, but I haven’t kept digests to look back on, so I could be wrong. I don’t think they would be unwelcome simply to be members of the list (“interested others” after all), but discussion of therian/animal-kin things would likely be considered off topic. I think the nature of the examples Torin provides for what “other” is standing in for is significant. It is a catchall for “non-elves”, but exactly what is in that “non-elves” is mostly unspoken and would have been deduced in context from the demographics of the list at the time. Whether that included any therians/weres/animal-kin at all, however, I don’t know (it’s hard to take a census other than by reading through digests, or I guess one could post a survey).
Lupa used the broader meaning of “people who identify in some way as other than human” in the A Field Guide to Otherkin in 2007, so that may also play a part in that meaning becoming more known.
(I’m sensing a bit of prescriptive vs. descriptive approaches to definitions here… do we try to keep a word’s usage “correct”, or do we let its definition flux in accordance with how people seem to be using it in the wild? Again I see the parallel with Wicca meaning traditionalist descended from Gardner vs. Wicca meaning stuff in a book or on a web page that called itself Wicca…)